Geocashing, A High-Tech Treasure Hunt

A lot of RVers are getting interested in "Geocashing". I learned about it last Spring when I was with some RVer friends in the Texas Hill Country.

It's an interesting and fun way to use the GPS (Global Positioning System) units many of us already have for guiding our travels, and makes exploring the countryside even more of an adventure.

Geocashing is a new "treasure-hunting game", now spreading all over the world, coordinated via the Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site Geocaching.

The game begins when a player, somewhere in the world, hides a "cache", usually a small box containing a log book and pencil (for the hiders and the finders to record their comments), plus various small items such as small toys, and sometimes, a "Travel Bug", then records the GPS coordinates on the Geocashing web site.

In the second stage of the game, other players search the Geocashing web site for a cache in their area, download the directions and GPS coordinates and set off to find the cache.

Typically the finder of a cache will remove one item, replace it with another item, and record comments in the log book. The cache is then carefully re-hidden for the next player to find.

If the cache contains a “Travel Bug”, the finder may take it and leave it in another cache in a new, perhaps far away location. The object is to see how far and where that Travel Bug will travel.

One of our group in the Texas Hill Country had a good Internet connection, so on the days we wanted to go exploring, he would go to the Geocashing web site and find a cache our area. Then we would start out, prepared as though we were going hiking, with proper clothes and shoes, lunch and water, and, of course, our GPS units.

We would follow directions from the Geocashing web site to get to the right general area, then pile out of the car and using our hand-held GPS units, go looking for the cache. The GPS location would get us to within a few feet of the cache, but from there we were on our own. That most often meant hiking up a hill to find the cache hidden under a rock or in the hollow of a tree.

The log books were usually written with the assumption that the finder was a “traveler”… and would include such comments as “look to the east, and you will see the top of a tower; be sure to go tour it”, the best nearby place they had found to eat, and other advice. It was a bit like having a mini travelogue of the area.

In one logbook, some German students told about other places in Texas they had visited, how much they were enjoying Texas, and about things that were different from what they had imagined. We all enjoyed that… even the non-Texans among us.

The whole Geocashing experience helped our group to get out and go exploring and enjoy the area, not just to find the hidden treasure.

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